Top 10: Gordon Raphael

By on 15:39

The famous producer Gordon Raphael (The, Strokes, Regina Spektor) choose his ten favorite albums.

Recently arrived from Seattle to Berlin, Gordon took time to choose his ten favorite albums especially for Mute Magazine. Here we leave you with the top ten favorite albums of the producer that forever changed the sound of rock in 2000.

Photos Of Ghosts- by PFM: This is a band from Italy. My favorite musical force from Italy since Niccolò Paganini in the 1800's! Paganini played ferociously well, and set about to break the rules. PFM (Premiata Forneria Marconi) also show us a lot of incredible new things in rock music by adding accordians, violins choir voices and synthseizers to great effect. The English Lyrics for this album are by the great British poet Pete Sinfield who also wrote many wonderful ideas for King Crimson way back when I loved them too! (particularly their album Islands) I love everything about Photos Of Ghosts, the album artwork, the band's logo, the record label design. I really think it must be heard on vinyl though, because holding the record cover while hearing the songs can be very transformative! Lyrics to the song Photos Of Ghosts: 

"Black roses laced with silver
By a broken moon.
Ten million stars and the whispered harmonies of leaves.
We were these.
Beside a dried up fountain
Lie five dusty tomes
With faded pasted pictures
Of love's reverie.
Across each cover is written,
Herein are Photos of Ghosts
Of ghosts, of ghosts,
Of the days we ran and the days we sang."
(Songwriters: Francone Mussida, Mauro Pagani, Flavio Premoli, Peter Sinfield)

In A Glass House- by Gentle Giant: This album is so interesting, and different than any other music in the world. Gentle Giant, at their best was showing what modern music could be like with no limits about poetry, musical abilty, harmony and rhythm. Each person in the band could play many instruments, and sing beautifully. In particular the drummer John Weathers, bassist Ray Shulman and keyboard wizard Kerry Minnear just destroy my brain with their inventions, innovations and power. Sample lyric (from their song An Inmate's Lullaby which is sung from the point of view of a man in an insane assylum!):

"Lying down here in the afternoon
 In my pretty cosy little cushioned room
 I can talk to all my funny friends in here 
I was told to rest, why I am not quite clear?

Eating flowers growing in the garden 
Where there are tasty tulips and I don't care
If I wet my trousers, there was no time
I had nowhere else to go, nowhere else I could find

Staring up at the great big white light
 That shines everyday and shines all through the night
 Hearing voices of the silly friends of mine 
Always lock the door nurses waiting outside all the time.

Hurt myself this morning 
Doctor gave me warning 
Sent me to my room 
And told me that I'm bad"

(Songwriters: Ray Shulman, Derek Shulman, Kerry Minnear)

Electric Ladyland- by The Jimi Hendrix Experience: What can I really say about this record?? Maybe it's the album I have listened to the most in my life. Maybe 2000 times? Maybe it showed me the open door to my own future when I heard it as a young teenager. This record by The Jimi Hendrix Experience is the trip to outerspace, to the planets and stars. For me it's the words and poetry of human imagination and God, and the rushing through the gateway of the mind's imagination. It's also love, insanity, pain, sex, lonliness and brilliant golden blue light. I also think everyone should listen to it on vinyl, holding the record cover in the hands.
This for me is how the real blessing of this creation comes in. My favorite songs?? All along The Watchtower (written by Jimi's hero, Bob Dylan!), House Burning Down, and 1983 A Merman I Should Turn To Be.

Go for it: Electric Ladyland is a double album. Listen to it and then run out and make your own music!

Is This It- by The Strokes: Is this the sound of my life changing for the better in a lot of ways?? It's for sure the sound of some lucky/blessed chance meeting in New York City that resulted in many important changes in music for the first decade of year 2000, and traveling around the world for Gordon Raphael. Julian casablancas write and sang these songs, and they are pretty miraculous and interesting and very very unique, to me. I get a very happy smile everytime one of these songs come on my iTunes Shuffle, and also when I hear them played in restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, of course. My favorite songs on Is This It have always been "Someday", "New York City Cops", "Trying Your Luck "and "Take It Or Leave It". But I also need to hear "Hard To Explain", "Soma" and "The Modern Age". I really appreciate this album!

This Is It (The DVD version!) by Michael Jackson: I only found out about Michael Jackson really in 2012! I was staying in California and I was really needing to watch a DVD and I found This Is It on a girl's shelf in her home, and put it on-- not expecting much. I put the DVD in my laptop, and put on my very great headphones (Audio Technica ATH-M50 S) and within 5 minutes I was completely amazed and blown away with my jaw hanging open, shaking my head. I had NO idea he was that good!! I had no idea he could dance like that, and sing like that and write so many great songs. I also love the way he communicates with the top-quality musicians in the world that are in his band. Michael had 12 dancers, and 12 musicians and 12 backing vocalists with him, as well as a film-team, visual team, production manager and choreographer, and he seems to know what everyone is doing at all times, and still moving his body and singing like no one else in the world has ever done. I reccomend everyone who loves music get this DVD "This Is It" by Michale Jackson and study it hard to see what modern Master of music and humanity has sung and danced among us! wow. I think MJ is like Bach now; Bach channeled God on the keyboard, and Michael Jackson channeled God through his elbows and feet and ears!

New Values- by Iggy Pop: I could have said The Stooges first album, or Raw Power, or The Idiot or Lust For Life- but I picked New Values cuz not many people know about it. I saw Iggy Pop play live in Seattle the year New Values came out, and he really changed my view of music and the world with his performance and stage personality. Hard, muscular, angry, powerful, poetic and "touched in the head". That's what's in this album. He tells us all about himself at the time he wrote this record: "I'm Bored, I'm the chairman of the Bored"…"Don't look down, they're making sort of crazy sounds", "I'm only Five foot One!", "I got a hard-ass pair of shoulders, I've got a love you can't imagine!".

If you ever get a chance to watch the video for Five Foot One, especially on a good quality-- DO IT! This shows something about video, and rock performance, and rocker ego-trip that I love alot. Rock out to this amazing album, and thank me later!
More Songs About Buildings and Food- by Talking Heads: Yes this is one of the first Punk/New Wave concerts I ever went to at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle.It's just a fantastic album all the way through-- every song a masterpiece. The lyrics and sheer poetry, the attitude and mood are different than any album ever made before or after: It's crazy and cold and sensitive all at the same time, and you can dance to it really well!. Brian Eno and Talking Heads worked together on this record, and especially if you find it on vinyl, in excellent condition, on a good stereo system- you just drop the needle down and let the fabulous new rock sound wash over you. I always DJ something from this record and it fills the club with amazing pure creative energy. This is from a very short time when New York ruled the rock world. (New York ruled the Jazz world for a long time! : )

My Goals Beyond- by Mahavishnu John McLaughlin: This album has been with me since I was 14, and I listen to it about 20 times a year still! I would say this is an acoustic guitar Jazz album, BUT it's not boring at all! It's in fact wide, and wild and magical and takes you on many interesting journeys. I always play side 2 first, that's the side with John McLaughlin playing 2 acoustic guitars. It's not soft, and it's not Folk music. It's more like fire ripping your brains out and making your ears burn with the flames of creative imagination and the power of human hands! Side One is completely different, and so I play that one second. Side Two has 10 musicians playing a trance of Indian vibrations, and if the Hindu Gods are all in a room making a meditation that's full of sound and color and light, and yes, moving vastly through space and great speed and depth. I like to put on some Indian incense and play side one (on Vinyl) and really really listen deeply into it, for maximum enjoyment and knowledge! A truly perfect record.
We're Only In It For The Money- by The Mothers of Invention: There is no record like this one in the whole world, or any other world. Frank Zappa created a pure psychedelic mind bending trip with music and sound here, so that you don't have to take any chemicals to experience all the hallucinations and visions you need. The album artwork is brilliant, and the band looks amazing, and its a total breaking apart of the "Hippie Mythology". The greatest thing about the album is that while Mr. Zappa wants to destroy the false image of 1960's rock music, he is making some of the best and most imaginitive, wild and unique 1960's rock music here, that I have ever heard. We're Only In It For The Money is: new, weird, cool, symphonic, psychedelic, trippy, hilariously funny and absolutely gorgeous. It has life-changing sounds, and great talking parts hidden inside. This record is FAR OUT!
10º ChangesOneBowie- by David Bowie: This was a vinyl record that was what made me love Bowie first, and forever. 

The tracklist went like this:

(Side A)

Space Oddity

John, I'm Only Dancing


Ziggy Stardust

Suffragette City

The Jean Genie


(Side B)

Diamond Dogs

Rebel Rebel

Young Americans


Golden Years

I played this viny record so many times that people started hating me for it! Over and over, from beginning to end, and then start again. I needed to know about this, and learn from it and feel the energy and emotions and stories in each song. John, I'm Only Dancing, Rebel Rebel and Changes were often my favorites, but Fame was written and sung with John Lennon and David Bowie together, who could resist that?? And it's all about one of my favorite subjects too. double wow, triple wow! I think they added a bunch of really terrible songs to the CD of this record, so I can only say-- Listen on Vinyl and dont fall for the hype.
In a way there are very few rockers who wrote as many amazing albums and songs as Bowie, very very few have done so well, and so many. But for me, there is nothing after LOW by him that is very cool at all. there are a few songs on Heroes, and Lodger-- but they aren't great albums for me. Bowie's masterpieces for me are the 10 albums he made between 1969 (Space Oddity) and 1977 (Low). And they are all "the Holy Grail of Rock-n-Roll" for me! ha ha…… Thank you very much.